4 steps to get cracking in social media
Those who think social media is ubiquitous should be reminded of a recent article in Mashable that reckons 50% of adults in the US aren't using the phenomenon. My guess is that it's similar in New Zealand.
There are many sources and websites, such as Mashable, which are chock full of highly technical information, but my objective is to make new media and communications understandable and accessible to non professionals. In the case of social media I believe that this is important because organisations need to involve themselves at every level to be successful.
For businesses and organisations, most are likely to appreciate that social media is something they should do, but many are hesitating. I hear excuses such as, "we don't have the time or resources" or "we'll do it sometime".
Unequivocally I can say that any organisation not actively finding a way into social media is steadily imposing a handicap on their viability. As part of a rapidly evolving new media environment, social media is proving itself to be the most important game-changer in organisational effectiveness.
The second big handicap for businesses and organisations is almost a contradiction. The ease with which anyone can do social media means that many start and never learn to do it effectively, or they give up before it begins to return benefits.
All this raises two big questions. What should organisations do to engage in social media and, what is the best way to approach it?
4 tips on "just doing it" in social media
How you approach social media will depend on your objectives, but it's important to keep it simple, especial y in the beginning. Here are my basic steps to revolutionising your organisation through social media.
1. Accept the benefits and make a firm commitment
Take it from me, if you don't embrace social media you're dragging a big paddle through the water of the modern world. So don't "dabble in the idea" on social media; turn the corner and don't turn back.
2. Write an online plan
This is not just a scope for your website. This is a full plan with clear objectives, market analysis and strategic direction set before any activities are even considered. Involve others and keep it simple so that your plan is actionable and has long term application.
3. Commitment resources
Much online activity is highly technical, such as some aspects of search engine optimisation (SEO) and high-end social media activity. This is where you shouldn't be afraid to use a professional. But for every organisation, there are a host of things you should and can do to make a big impact.
Try to engage everyone in your organisation to your social media activity, but put someone in charge. If you've made a proper commitment to it, you won't then be tempted to divert resources away from it at a later time.
4. Just start
Start with your plan and keep adjusting and adapting it as you go. For a small organisation, starting can be done with one person spending say 20 minutes a day. Don't be impatient because it can be slow to begin, but remember that gains usually happen in incremental steps, which means that stickability is crucial.
A final point. Every action needs motivation. If you aren't motivated by the promise of improved organisational effectiveness – depending on your objectives – remember that social media is a very low risk and low cost option. If you start and give it time, it can achieve the best value for (little money) you've ever had.
Fraser Carson is a thinker, problem solver, innovator and commentator. He has particular experience and interest in marketing, communications and social media. In 2012 he launched Flightdec.com, a radical new concept to build online communities.